Recipes sometimes tell a much larger story about migration and place, as traditional ingredients step aside for what may be more readily available. Such is the case with this dish from Yung Chow, published in The Times in 2003 with an article about the history of Chinese American families who settled in the Mississippi Delta. When Ms. Chow couldn’t find Chinese broccoli or bok choy in her local markets, she turned to collard greens, which she stir-fried with garlic and flavored with oyster sauce. Amanda Hesser, who included this recipe in “The Essential New York Times Cookbook,” said that the wok “really brings out the minerality of collards, and this goes so well with the sweetness of oyster sauce.”
- Serves: 6 persons
- 3bunches tender collard greens (21/2 to 3 pounds total)
- 2tablespoons peanut or canola oil
- 6garlic cloves, chopped
- A few grinds of black pepper
- 2to 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½teaspoon granulated sugar
Step 1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Wash and trim the greens, and cut into 2-by-3-inch pieces. Blanch in batches in the boiling water for 1 minute (begin counting after the water returns to a boil), then immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water. Drain well. Lift the greens up by handfuls and squeeze out the excess water, then spread out on a kitchen towel and pat dry.
Step 2Heat a wok over high heat (medium-high if you have a powerful stove), then season with salt and let it brown lightly. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir until lightly browned. Add the greens and pepper and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons oyster sauce and the sugar, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.